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EDA Focuses in On Qualified Opportunity Zones

EDA Logo Today, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is encouraging its economic development partners to think of Opportunity Zone investment as a new arrow in their quiver to not only to enhance ROI for business interests, but also to encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed areas.

Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zones tax incentive is designed to spur economic development and job creation by encouraging investors to fund new businesses, develop properties, and finance construction in struggling communities in distressed areas.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Jessica Falk, Area Director, Austin Regional Office, Economic Development Administration

Emily Miller, Policy Advisor, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Economic Development Administration Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Women’s History Month.

I am an Area Director with the Economic Development Administration’s Austin Region Office and oversee the grant portfolio for Oklahoma, New Mexico and Northwest Texas. These grants are intended to bring jobs and prosperity to economically distressed communities. It had always been my goal to work with economically distressed communities and help improve their quality of life, but it was a long, winding path to the EDA.

I began my career as an AmeriCorps VISTA in an elementary school in Wisconsin, helping bridge a reading gap between the affluent children and their counterparts living in poor, underserved, communities. During that year, I saw how well-meaning policies failed to account for the reality on the ground. It was then that I decided to attend law school to gain a better understanding of law, policy and its interpretations.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Emily Miller, Policy Advisor, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Emily Miller, Policy Advisor, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Economic Development Administration Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Women’s History Month.

While on my first deployment in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I had the honor to lead an engineering platoon in Basra, Iraq, building infrastructure for the local populace and our military allies to include roads, airfields, and other off-base projects.

Upon returning to the United States, I learned about a newly created program called Cultural Support Teams. U.S. Special Operations Command realized their all-male special operations teams needed women to accompany them on missions to interact with Afghan women and children – a task that was culturally inappropriate and sensitive in Afghan culture, but necessary to gather information on terrorist activities in their communities.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Irette Y. Patterson, Program Analyst, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Irette Y. Patterson, Program Analyst, U.S. Economic Development Administration Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Women’s History Month.

I am a Program Analyst for the Economic Development Administration’s Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program (TAAF). The program assists firms that have been negatively impacted by foreign trade. I am responsible for reviewing documentation from firms petitioning for technical assistance through the program to ensure they qualify for the program.

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Highlight: How Non-Profit ICAST is Teaching Green Construction Skills to At-Risk Youth, Training for Jobs of the Future

Students at the ICAST Green Construction Training Program In December 2017, EDA provided funding for the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST), a nonprofit that focuses on providing a higher quality of living for low-to-moderate income communities, to launch a green construction training and job creation program for disadvantaged youth.

The EDA-supported youth workforce development program helps disadvantaged students (ages 16-24) from low-income communities across New Mexico and Texas receive education and training in the growing green construction industry. The program covers topics such as energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality remediation, and renewable energy systems. Trainings are offered both online and in-person, with a complementary apprenticeship program for on-the-job training (OJT).

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Success Story: EDA's Investment in Choctaw Nation Supports Development of Drone Testing Program, Attracting New Business and Private Investment to the Area

Choctaw Nation Drone Testing The Choctaw Nation is a Native American territory and Indian Tribe represented in 11 counties in Oklahoma. Between 2014 and 2016, the Choctaw Nation and surrounding region was affected by three federally-declared natural disasters.

In response, EDA invested $750,000 in Choctaw in 2016 to support the development and implementation of the Choctaw Nation Economic Development Initiative in Southeast Oklahoma. The Initiative conducted feasibility and analytical studies to gain vital knowledge to support the exploration of business development, industrial parks, ports, and other economic development activities to diversify and strengthen the regional economy.

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Spotlight: In Celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week, EDA Recognizes Innovative 2018 RIS Grantees

Texas Tech University Innovation Hub The 2019 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program is open for proposals and EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) is accepting applications until April 4, 2019. Last year, after an incredibly competitive selection process, a total of 40 projects were selected in our 2018 cohort of RIS grantees and many officially kicked off their projects around National Entrepreneurship Week. Check out a quick sneak-peek below at what a few of our 2018 grantees are launching in their communities:

  • The Texas Tech University Innovation Hub is kick starting their transformative AgTech Fund called Hub Fuel. Hub Fuel will fund early-stage startups that are commercializing technology in the West Texas ecosystem including elements such as biotechnology, plant and animal breeding, water and environment technologies, big data analytics, and others. They expect to fund at least 25-35 AgTech ventures in West Texas. Read more about the launch Hub Fuel’s work in a recent article from Texas Tech Today.
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Regional Innovation Strategies: From Idaho to Puerto Rico, EDA awards over $16m to support local capacity for high-tech innovation and job creation

EDA Logo EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is adding 24 exciting new i6 Challenge projects to its Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program portfolio. Together with 16 new Seed Fund Support awards, EDA is catalyzing a new cohort of capacity-building projects in its diverse RIS portfolio, which has already created over 8,200 jobs and $1 billion in follow-on capital during the program’s first four years of operation.

The 2018 RIS Notice of Funding Opportunity brought in 160 i6 Challenge applications from across the nation. EDA designed the i6 Challenge to increase productivity and accelerate growth through entrepreneurship that translates innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and applied research into new businesses, accelerated paths to export, increased foreign direct investment, and new jobs.

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Regional Innovation Strategies: EDA invests $5m to expand access to early-stage risk capital coast-to-coast and everywhere in between

EDA Logo EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship just announced its newest Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program Seed Fund Support (SFS) awards. EDA is adding these 16 awards, along with 24 new i6 Challenge awards, to its existing portfolio of 140 investments that have created over 8,200 jobs and $1 billion in follow-on capital during the program’s first four years of operation.

The annual SFS competition provides funding for technical assistance and operational costs that support the planning, formation, launch, or scale of cluster-based seed funds that will invest their capital in innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. The 2018 cohort of SFS grantees was selected from 73 applicants who responded to the competitive 2018 RIS Notice of Funding Opportunity, and represent 15 different states from coast-to-coast and in the heartland.

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Spotlight: Celebrating Manufacturing and National Hispanic Heritage Months

Manufacturing Day October 5th kicked off Manufacturing Month with Manufacturing Day, a day to recognize the progress the U.S. has made on its growing manufacturing revival. The Trump Administration is celebrating this month by focusing on leveling the playing field and encouraging innovative opportunities to create more jobs across the country. According to an op-ed written by U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross, since January 2017, the manufacturing sector has added 348,000 jobs, with year-over-year manufacturing job growth in 2018 increasing at the fastest rate since 1995. In 2017, U.S. manufacturers produced over $6 trillion in gross output, nearing the largest production values on record.

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